Correa glabra

Rock Correa

Family: Rutaceae

Correa glabra is a shrub, to 3 metres tall.

It grows on the western slopes and plains of NSW, extending into western Victoria, eastern South-Australia and south-eastern Queensland. It is usually found in rocky areas in open sclerophyll woodland.

Correa spp. fall into the subgroup of Rutaceae that have simple and opposite leaves, along with 4-petaled flowers.

In this species, leaves are vibrant and elliptic, up to 4 cm long by up to 2 cm wide, usually with stellate hairs, denser on the lower surface.

Correa spp. often have mostly solitary flowers or up to 10 flowers arranged in cymes. In this species, flowers are tubular with the 4 petals mostly fused, greenish yellow, about 3 cm long, produced solitarily in leaf axils and pendulous. Flowering occurs mainly in April-May with sporadic flowers at other times. The calyx is swollen with a flattened ridge and slightly darker green, reminiscent of a chef’s cap – hence the common name.

The fruit are composed of small woody cocci (segments) and is referred to as a schizocarpic-capsule with the cocci spliting apart. In this species, they are to 8 mm long, white to green, surrounded by the persistent corolla tube.

In the garden

Author’s notes:

In my garden, I found they grow better if protected from the hot afternoon sun. A few of my plants are planted in a position that receives only dappled light, in this situation they tend to grow more open and a bit straggly (not recommended).

Reference books advise that this plant grows to 2 to 3 metres tall by 2 metres wide. I have four Correa glabra plants in my garden in Sydney’s northern suburbs and they have not grown much higher than 1.6 metres in ten years or so. Perhaps if I did not prune them after flowering they may eventually get that height, but I doubt it.

They will grow in a variety of soil types as long as the soil is well drained. They are very ‘prune-able’ and shoot from old wood.

The pendulous flowers are produced during winter and into spring – a long flowering period.

They are very hardy, but look and flower at their best if not grown in a dry position for long periods.

The first of many Correa glabra I planted was the green flowering form. Subsequent plantings have been the form with more yellowish flowers.

Correa glabra can be used as a low screening shrub and makes an attractive substitute for the many smaller native lillypillies. A worthwhile inclusion in any garden.


Propagates best from cuttings.

Other information

Two varieties are currently recognised in NSW:

  • var. glabra – with leaves and calyces almost hairless and
  • var. leucoclada – with hairier leaves and calyces

There is at least two cultivars; ‘Ivory Lantern’ – with white flowers and ‘Coliban River’ with green-cream flowers.

Most correas would be killed in fire and regenerate from seed after fire.

Correa is a genus of about 11 species, endemic to Australia, occurring in all states except the Northern Territory. NSW currently has 5 species.

Correa – named after Jose Correia de Serra (1750-1823), a Portugese abbot, scientist, politician and polymath who was friends with both Joseph Banks and Thomas Jefferson.

glabra – Latin meaning “glabrous” or “hairless” – a misnomer perhaps as most leaves tend to have hairs. However, var. glabra tends to have almost hairless leaves and calyces.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Correa glabra profile page                  https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Correa~glabra

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Hitchcock, M. (2010). Correas – Australian Plants for Waterwise Gardening. Rosenburg Publishing 2010.

Gardening with Angus – Correa glabra ‘Ivory Lantern’ profile page  https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/correa-glabra-ivory-lantern-rock-correa/


By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke